The premise of this interesting article and the answer to the question from the title is YES, the first smart smart highway will be built in China since it has shown the capability to implement technology quickly and relatively efficiently. China is the premier environment for the world’s first smart roadway because of its unique infrastructure environment, fast-paced technology implementation standards and dominance in global manufacturing and supply chain. China is also a leading developer of solar technology, in the midst of the big infrastructure projects and has the tech and the skill set to build it.
The article defines smart highway as the one that allow for technological integration into current transportation roadways, including, but not limited to, functions such as generating power through solar panels, integration with self-driving cars and sensors and structural maintenance monitoring systems. Smart highway would enable smart vehicles to work with sensors and other roadside-integrated technologies to create tools such as full-stop fail-safes in the event of an incapacitated driver.
There have been many attempts to create parts of smart highways, with specific efforts focusing on solar roads and smart traffic infrastructure projects. Trials and PoCs (Proof of Concept) for solar roads however didn’t prove this to be a viable and cost effective solution yet.